It hangs behind that space between the breasts
where a woman might place her fingers and inhale,
maybe even close her eyes, when she feels
strong emotion. A touchstone of flesh, perhaps.
I touch that spot from time to time, when I feel
it flutter behind its shield of bone or when
it awakens me to the mortality-reminding sensation.
The medics pulled from their Latinate lists
the term ideopathic chest pain, even if it doesn’t hurt,
just like once they called it ideopathic pericarditis.
A hardening of the heart.
Outside and in.
You laid your hand on me there once, with emotion,
and I felt a different flutter, inside and out.
Now I realize why you might touch yourself that way.
I understand that contact with life while it lasts—
crazy, loving, strange, and yeah ideopathic life—
is mostly worth the pain and even not understanding
its why. This hard heart softened at that touch.